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Nursing Implications of Chemotherapy Agents and Their Associated Side Effects in Patients With Pancreatic Cancer

Jan W. Hronek
Maureen Lehner Reed
CJON 2015, 19(6), 751-757 DOI: 10.1188/15.CJON.751-757

Background: Survival for patients with advanced (locally advanced unresectable and metastatic disease) pancreatic cancer is very poor; however, several advances in treatment have been made during the past several years. Gemcitabine (Gemzar®)-based regimens, FOLFIRINOX, and nab-paclitaxel (Abraxane®)-based regimens have demonstrated efficacy in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. Understanding the unique safety profile of each of these regimens is crucial in helping nurses identify symptoms, develop patient education strategies, and ultimately improve outcomes.

Objectives: This article aims to provide background information on and nursing implications of the treatment of patients with advanced pancreatic cancer by exploring the mechanism of action and efficacy and safety profiles of standard treatment regimens.

Methods: Key trials of standard treatment regimens used in the treatment of advanced pancreatic cancer were examined with respect to efficacy outcomes and the most commonly observed adverse events. Symptom identification and management strategies are discussed from the nursing perspective.

Findings: The current standard treatment options for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer have differences in efficacy and safety profiles. Nurses should educate themselves on these differences, particularly on associated adverse events and their management.

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